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The Bradsher Beat
Friday, February 3, 2012

By Bethany Bradsher

ECU women's track foes seeing double

By Bethany Bradsher
All rights reserved.

Like Noah when he was stocking the ark, several East Carolina coaching staffs have learned that good things come in matched pairs.

Suiting up for Lady Pirate basketball this season are Britny and Whitny Edwards, the twin daughters of legendary ECU hoops star Blue Edwards. Head volleyball coach Pati Rolf recently announced that another set of twin sisters, Sierra-Lee and Kierra-Lee Dunson, would play volleyball in Minges Coliseum this fall.

And then there are Brooke and Britney Kott, junior middle distance runners who make up half of the distance medley relay team. That relay team made an unforgettable splash at one of college track’s greatest venues last weekend, finishing in 11:24.51 and shattering the 8-year-old school record by 24 seconds.

Assistant track coach Tsehaye Dagnachew, who works with the Kotts, said that before the race she and the runners sensed that something special was about to happen. Dagnachew remembers telling the women that they might even break the record by 10 seconds, but she little imagined they would more than double that projection.

Article continues below the following images

Britney (left) and Brooke Kott
(ECU SID images)

For Britney, it was a matter of four iron wills coming together with weeks of quality workouts behind them. She wasn’t surprised when she saw their time, she said, because the team had begun to sense they were capable of greatness.

“We knew we had to step up our game, because there were some big teams there,” she said. “Everyone has been training so well that it was the perfect week to do well. Everything just came together.”

The Kotts, natives of New Jersey, weren’t necessarily planning to attend the same college. But when they visited ECU, they both loved the coaches and the team members, not to mention the warmer climate. They both felt like it was the right place for them. They tried living apart as freshmen, but soon gave up on that idea and became roommates again.

Nearly three years later, after sweating and aching together through grueling practices and spending countless late nights studying side by side, they can’t imagine it any other way. In fact, each twin is fairly sure she runs faster times with her sister by her side.

“My whole life, neither of us wanted to be considered the slow twin, or the dumb twin, so athletically and academically we’ve always pushed each other,” Brooke said.

“I’ll run a time and she’ll say, ‘I have to beat that,” Britney said.

The twins are easy to coach, Dagnachew said, because they truly are so much alike that the coaching tactics that work for one work for both. And then there’s that whole dynamic that has them pushing each other harder than any coach could push. Their coaches design workouts, then just sit back and watch them progress.

“They’re basically one and the same,” Dagnachew said. “They still room together, and I think they agree that they are each other’s best friends.”

In the distance medley relay triumph, the Kotts were joined with two veteran Pirate distance runners who have distinguished themselves in cross country and track. Junior Amanda Lapp led off with the 1,200 meters, followed by Britney Kott in the 400 meters, Brooke Kott in the 800 and the anchor, senior Brittany Copeland, running the mile in a blazing-fast 4:42. Copeland also broke her own record in the 3,000 meters at the meet, finishing in 9:24.10.

The Kotts and their medley relay teammates aren’t settled with busting a nearly decade old school record. With a road trip to a meet in Ohio and the Conference USA Championships remaining in the indoor season, they have their sights on besting their own new mark and competing on a national level.

As amazed as she was by some of the times her runners turned in at Penn, Dagnachew keeps remembering what the women said to her when their big race was over.

“Everybody got off the track and said, ‘I had more. I could have run it faster,’” she said.

E-mail Bethany Bradsher

PAGE UPDATED 02/03/12 02:42 AM.

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